Between 19 three Federal agencies, the Departments of Interior, Agriculture and War, initiated and administered separate groups of National Monuments.
President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act on June 8, 1906.
In California, several state leaders sought to protect Yosemite Valley. John Conness of California sponsored an act to transfer the valley and nearby Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the state so they might “be used and preserved for the benefit of mankind”.
President Abraham Lincoln signed this act of Congress on June 30, 1864. A myth evolved that near the end of the Washburn expedition, discussion around the campfire led several of the members to suggest that the area be set aside for public use and not allow it to be sold to private individuals.
Petrified Forest, Arizona, is world-renowned for its petrified wood, Indian ruins and petroglyphs.
Three of these original National Monuments later became the core of National Parks.
In 1902 the Federal Government purchased 32 mineral springs near Sulphur, Oklahoma, from the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians.
The site includes prehistoric petroglyphs and hundreds of inscriptions from 17th century Spanish explorers and 19th century American emigrants and settlers.
Montezuma Castle, Arizona, is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings.
Mineral springs have been used for their medicinal properties since ancient times.
By 1800, places like Saratoga Springs, New York, Berkeley Springs and White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and French Lick, Indiana, were becoming popular American resorts.